Benjamin Harrison Day will be celebrated as part of the Indiana Supreme Court's Courts in the Classroom program with two historical depictions of the Ex-Parte Milligan case on Tuesday at the Indiana Statehouse at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The event is targeted to students who participate by reading definitions of various legal terms and biographies of the key players, but some seating is available to the public. The event will also be webcast at 10 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m.
Milligan involved a Fort Wayne attorney, Lambdin P. Milligan, who was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by a military tribunal in 1864 for his actions against the Civil War. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overturned the tribunal's decision in 1866 on the grounds that the defendant was a civilian and should not have been tried in a military tribunal.
In 1877, in a civil case in federal court in Indianapolis, Milligan sued Oliver P. Morton, governor of Indiana during the Civil War; Alvin P. Hovey, the military commander and head of the tribunal; and General Ben Spooner, another high-ranking Union officer. Milligan was seeking damages for time he served in prison and for the time it took him to clear his name following the tribunal.
Harrison, who was elected president in 1888, represented Morton at the suggestion of President Ulysses S. Grant.
The program includes explanations and re-enactments of parts of the military tribunal, the Supreme Court case, and the civil case. The President Benjamin Harrison Home is also involved with the event.